Aug. 22, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The Indiana University Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences has announced a $6 million gift from alumnus Ralph Collins Walter, a Los Angeles-based investment analyst and economist.
Qualifying for the university’s bicentennial campaign match, Walter’s gift will provide funding to multiple corners of the College of Arts and Sciences, bolstering opportunities for faculty and students alike. Half of the $6 million gift will endow two new faculty chairs: one endowed chair in the Department of History and one in the Department of Economics. The other $3 million will create an array of new scholarships through Arts and Sciences Career Services, which will be renamed the Walter Center for Career Achievement, effective immediately.
The new scholarships through the Walter Center will help students secure high-quality, meaningful internships. By providing funding of up to $5,000 per scholarship, the Walter Center will award students money for travel, tuition and living expenses incurred while participating in internships.
“By expanding educational opportunities for our students and strengthening our faculty, Ralph’s gift will have an extensive and enduring impact on the College of Arts and Sciences,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. “His exceptional generosity and commitment to strengthening our academic environment are truly inspiring, as are his vision for the Walter Center and the ways in which it will prepare IU graduates for successful and rewarding careers.”
College of Arts and Sciences Executive Dean Larry Singell expressed a similar sentiment, touting the gift’s wide-ranging effect. With three academic divisions and three distinct schools — the School of Global and International Studies, The Media School and the School of Art and Design — the College requires career services that are extensively multifaceted and relevant to a wide variety of career tracks, Singell said.
“Students of the arts and sciences boast an incredible range of talents and passions,” Singell said. “Ralph’s generous financial support will allow those students to put their passions into motion and turn their talents into meaningful careers. These scholarships are going to allow students from all of our schools and all of our divisions to pursue professional opportunities that might otherwise be out of their grasp.”
Joe Lovejoy, director of the Walter Center for Career Achievement, characterized the gift as a game-changer for arts and sciences students at IU.
“The complexities of today’s workplace require that students join the workforce prepared to quickly adapt to changing circumstances,” Lovejoy said. “Employers recognize this and are increasingly searching for graduates with broad-based skills found in a liberal arts education. Mr. Walter’s gift represents an incredible commitment to the career success of IU College of Arts and Sciences graduates and will help our students continue to connect their diverse talents and passions to successful and meaningful careers for years to come.”
Walter, who earned a master’s degree in economics from IU Bloomington in 1972, recently retired after an extensive career in the financial sector. Among other positions, he served as chief operating officer and treasurer for Kayne Anderson Rudnick, an investment management firm. Walter has sat on the IU College of Arts and Sciences Executive Dean’s Advisory Board since 2012, in addition to serving on a range of other nonprofit boards and committees.
A keen advocate of lifelong learning, Walter earned a master’s degree in literature and arts from the University of Oxford in 2014, a degree that built upon his interest in British and Atlantic history. His passion for supporting the IU Department of History and Department of Economics seems only natural, then, as does his commitment to supporting students’ career development.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my own career, and therefore I think I have an obligation to help others to have the same opportunities that I had,” Walter said. “Students must realize that being a student is having a job. You have to learn how to learn. You have to acquire the skills that allow you to get your first job, but also the skills that will allow you to have a meaningful career.”
This gift counts toward the $2.5 billion campaign, For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign.
For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign is taking place on all IU-administered campuses: IU Bloomington, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend and IU Southeast. The campaign will conclude in December 2019 to coincide with IU’s bicentennial year celebration in 2020.
Founded in 1936, the Indiana University Foundation maximizes private support for Indiana University by fostering lifelong relationships with key stakeholders and providing advancement leadership and fundraising services for campuses and units across the university. Today, the IU Foundation oversees one of the largest public university endowments in the country, with a market value in excess of $1.9 billion. In fiscal year 2015, IU received $359.3 million in support from the private sector. IU is consistently ranked among the top four of Big Ten universities in annual voluntary support.